Irish filmmaker Vivienne Dick arrived in New York in the mid-1970s by way of France, Germany, India, and Mexico, becoming a key figure in the city’s vibrant Super8 filmmaking set. Thriving on the period’s collaborative energy and the small-gauge format’s immediacy, Dick adeptly made use of the medium to create some of the scene’s most accomplished and evocative films. This program surveys pyschodramas unfolding between characters in edgy tableaux that subsume the surrounding urban atmosphere (at times through layered in-camera editing). She Had Her Gun All Ready is an inscrutable yet droll portrait of codependency between a belligerent Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks) and a catatonic Pat Place (The Contortions, Bush Tetras). Lunch returns as the center of Beauty Becomes the Beast, a fragmented assemblage of female imagery. Her dual characters—a distressed child and a teenager tormented by sexual impulses—bleed into each other, offering a feverish, potent view of women under patriarchy. In The Village Voice, J. Hoberman observed of Lunch and the film, “[h]er brilliantly regressive performance...is, in my experience, only comparable to Jack Smith’s triumphant evocation of his beatnik misery in the underground classic Blonde Cobra (1962).... It’s horrifying, funny, poignant, and enraged.”
She Had Her Gun All Ready. 1978. USA. Directed by Vivienne Dick. With Pat Place, Lydia Lunch. Digital video from Super8mm. 28 min.
Courtesy of LUX.
Beauty Becomes the Beast. 1979. USA. Directed by Vivienne Dick. With Lydia Lunch, Adele Bertei, Klaus Nomi. Digital video from Super8mm. 41 min.
Courtesy of LUX.